Spurs 105, Clippers 98
SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Willie Anderson matched his season high with 26 points and scored 12 in the final nine minutes as the San Antonio Spurs came from behind to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-98 Thursday night.
David Robinson’s 32 points led the Spurs, who have won 51 games, 30 more than all last season. The Clippers were paced by Danny Manning’s 23 points. Benoit Benjamin had 21 and Charles Smith 20.
Los Angeles led 95-94 with 4:05 to play but the Spurs scored the next seven points, four by Anderson, to seal the victory.
Still trailing Midwest Division leader Utah by 2 1/2 , the Spurs can break the all-time NBA record for improvement with three victories in their final five games. Boston set the mark in 1979-80, Larry Bird’s rookie season, improving 32 games over the previous year.
Robinson scored 15 points in the first quarter and added four more in the second as San Antonio took a 56-47 lead at the intermission. The Spurs led by 15 in the second period but a 9-0 run by the Clippers, including six points by Manning, kept Los Angeles in the game.
The Spurs are 10-0 when Anderson scores 10 or more points in the final period.
″At the end of the game, Coach (Larry Brown) just said make something happen,″ Anderson said. ″I have a lot more confidence down the stretch than I did last year. Now I’m looking for the ball.″
Rod Strickland added 16 points for San Antonio, which went most of the game without ailing Terry Cummings, who played just nine minutes. Cummings was suffering from the flu.
″I was definitely into the game even though I was sitting on the bench,″ Cummings said. ″I didn’t feel good all day and I didn’t even want to get out of bed. But this is the type of game and the time in the season when you have to suit up for evey game.″
Clippers coach Don Casey moaned about his team’s poor shooting late in the game. Los Angeles made just one field goal in the final four minutes.
″Young teams consistently lose when they can’t hit from the outside, and we did that tonight,″ he said. ″When our guys shoot, they shoot until they miss, and it wasn’t enough at the end.″
The Clippers shot 43.8 percent and also committed 21 turnovers.
″It was a good effort, but it doesn’t give us a win,″ Manning said. ″It’s encouraging to come in here and compete with a team like the Spurs. It’s definitely a game to build on.″